Egypt's Cairo on Saturday hosted a symposium organized by Ahwazi figures and activists under the title: “Iranian occupations in the Arab world'.
The landmark event was organized and sponsored by the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz and the Arab European Foundation for Human rights.
A host of revered personalities in the Arab world and Gulf region were among the audience.
Habib Alaswad, deputy head of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz, asserted the importance of launching this event from Egypt due to the stature it enjoys in the hearts of Arabs.
Cairo is the capital of Arabism and the inspirer of the revolutionaries, which took the Arab peoples to the path of freedom from man's enslaving of his fellow human being, he added.
"In Egypt, there is al-Azhar and the Arab League, which the Ahwazis are a stone's throw to be members therein." The top Ahwazi figure noted.
He also blamed the brotherly Arabs for not paying the proper attention for the Ahwazi cause over the past decades.
But, at the same time, he commended stances by Arab nations fully supporting the Ahwazi cause. In the 1960s, Egypt's later leader Gamal Abdel-Nasser asked to meet the commander of Ahwazi resistance Mohiuddin Al Nasser. They discussed ways to strengthen resistance.
After this meeting, according to Alaswad, Egypt provided the Ahwazi resistance with machine guns.
He yet said the Arabs stood idly by, leaving Ahwaz under occupation for decades, and pushing Mullahs to consolidate their power there.
Alaswad considered that holding this symposium in Egypt is a milestone in terms of conveying the message of Ahwazis to the brotherly Arab nations.
He asserted the crises hitting the Arab region are principally caused by the Iranian meddling.
Yet, the Mullahs depended on lies and deception as a means to infiltrate the Arab world under hollow slogans.
He reiterated the Iranian schemes will target Egypt, confirming the latter is within the scope of the Iranian plots. And the Arab world should stand shoulder to shoulder with Egypt in its war on the Iran-backed terror.
As to coordination, Alaswad said the Movement is ready to cooperate with the other groups rejecting the Iranian expansionist schemes. He asserted the readiness to establish a unified front made up of Ahwazi and non-Ahwazi groups affected by the Persian hegemony.
Elsewhere in the symposium, Egyptian columnist and thinker Talat Rumeih paid tribute to the souls of the Ahwazi martyrs, saying resistance in Ahwaz did not start overseas, but its roots grew mainly at home. A lot of prominent journalists, columnists and activists spoke at the symposium, highlighting the sufferings of the Ahwazis, represented in repression, extrajudicial killings, arrests, displacement, eradication of identity, barring them from learning in mother tongue and other grievances.
There is no uncertainty that the Ahwazi Arabs people are one of the most forgotten oppressed peoples in the Middle East region. Ahwazis remain deprived of obtaining their own national right of developing any political framework that would protect their existence and encourage development. The region of Ahwaz enjoys a common historical tradition, racial/ethnic identity, cultural homogeneity, linguistic unity, religious/ideological affinity, territorial connection, and common economic life. All this has been disrupted by Iranian oppression.
It should be stressed that all Iranian regimes, whatever their varying political and ideological orientations, have not differed from one another in their brutal subjugation of the peoples under their occupation – particularly the Ahwazi Arab people.
All these regimes have attempted, by a policy of ethnic cleansing and ‘Persianization’, to destroy the foundations of Ahwazis’ Arab identity. Iran uses systematic savage racism when dealing with Ahwazis – going so far as to prohibit them from speaking in their native language of Arabic, wearing traditional Arab dress, or expressing/celebrating cultural traditions. All Ahwazis are forced to speak the Iranian language of Farsi in public and violators are persecuted, if not punished. Anti-Arab racism has become a strong component of Iranian culture and is one encouraged by each successive regime.
Even the Arabic place names in Ahwaz were changed to Farsi equivalents during the 1930s in another effort to eradicate the Ahwazi people’s collective memory of the region’s Arab identity. The Persian-majority regimes have also consistently displaced large numbers of Ahwazis to other parts of Iran in an effort to change the region’s demographic composition and eliminate its Arab prevalence.
Even the Islamic regime that came out of the 1979 Revolution in Iran did not change this policy of denying the right to self-determination for non-Persian groups, such as the Ahwazi Arab people. On the contrary, the new regime actually intensified repression through a campaign of executions perpetrated against anyone who dared oppose the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist (Velayat-e faqih).
Death sentences were ordered on the basis of bizarre accusations, such as “corruption on earth”, “blasphemy”, and “waging war against God”.
Since the emergence of the Islamic regime in Iran, all people living under this rule – particularly the non-Persian peoples – have been forced to endure harsh economic conditions, multifaceted oppression, terrible injustices, and chronic deprivation of the most basic necessities of life.
The current Iranian regime has, via its escalated Persianization policy, spared no efforts to dismantle the pillars of Ahwazi existence, their shared language, culture, and history.
Language is a fundamental component of a nation’s existence, so of course, the regime has outlawed the teaching of Arabic and forced all Ahwazis to learn Persian.
The current regime is also vamping up a deliberate resettlement policy, whereby Persians are easily given jobs and homes in the region of Ahwaz, but the local Ahwazi people forced out due to poverty brought about by a subsequent lack of employment opportunities available to them. This is a deliberate policy, designed to change the demographic makeup of the Ahwaz region and dilute its Arab culture and traditions.
The systematic policy of ethnic cleansing against Ahwazi Arabs originates from the Iranian regime's racist ideology of a homogeneous nation being necessary to maintain their colonialist, expansionist ambitions of establishing a mono-ethnic country. The goal of each Persian-majority regime of Iran was to incorporate sizable occupied non-Persian territories (i.e. Ahwaz, Kurdistan, south Azerbaijan) into a ‘unified’ ethnic Persian 'empire'.
The Iranian regime has harbored a deep-rooted animosity and perpetuated a brutally hostile doctrine against the Arab people for years. This regime-approved and propagated chauvinistic doctrine has served to legitimize discriminatory policies against Arabs in Iran. For this reason, the Ahwazi people have faced massive oppression and prosecution at the hands of the Iranian regime, whose goal is to permanently eradicate the Arabs from their homeland.
The systematic and uninterrupted reactionary policy of the Persian-majority regime leaves no safe space for Ahwazi Arabs to cultivate the survival of their culture and heritage – not even in their own homeland.
The scale of the oppression and injustice inflicted on Ahwazi Arabs by the Persian occupiers is almost incomparable with other colonial experiences – even some of the most brutal occupations.
The Iranian regime authorities have made very few efforts to conceal statistics that confirm the abject poverty, high unemployment, widespread drug addiction, and pervasive illiteracy Ahwazi Arabs are forced to endure.
The Iranian officials are, by their own statistics, directly responsible for the systematic devastation committed against the Ahwazi Arabs, whose terrible poverty contrasts sharply with the wealth of their resource-rich homeland. The Ahwazi Arabs live in a land of natural abundance, but are deprived of the most basic necessities of life.
Under the Iranian regime's systematic anti-Arab policies, Ahwazi Arabs today have almost no rights, including the right to live in peace and pursue prosperity in their own land.
Immediately following the military occupation of Ahwaz, the native Arab people were deemed to be second class and thereby immediately subjected to institutionalized racism and persecution.
However, awareness among Ahwazi youth is growing, and they are refusing to stay silent. As the youth learn of the rights owed to them and about their people's historical struggle against Persian oppression, they are standing up against the Iranian regime with renewed fervor.
To this day, the Iranian regime continues to conduct harsh discriminatory practices in Ahwaz. The goal has become one of weakening the popular will of the Ahwazi people through economic strangulation and collective punishment. By excluding Ahwazi Arabs from employment and depriving them of benefiting from local natural resources, the Iranian regime seeks to suffocate Arabs economically. Through a campaign of arbitrary arrests, detainment, imprisonment, torture, rape, and execution, as well as land confiscations, home destruction, and crop razing, the Iranian regime is seeking to eradicate any glimmer of hope or strength left within the Ahwazi community.
Despite all this, resistance to the military occupation of Ahwaz has continued without interruption. Many Ahwazis – both men and women – have fought and sacrificed themselves for the liberation of Ahwaz. The people of Ahwaz have never surrendered in their struggle for freedom.
For years, a lack of solidarity from other Arab countries (particularly neighboring Arab Gulf countries) and apathy from international organizations towards condemning Iran's flagrant human rights violations, have given the regime silent permission to reign over the occupied communities with bloody impunity. The occupied communities of Ahwaz, south-Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, and Baluchistan, continue to suffer beneath terror from the Iranian regime while the international community maintains deadly silence.
The Iranian occupation has created a great tradition of struggle for self-determination embedded into the national identity of Ahwazi Arabs. Many brave Ahwazi Arab men and women have sacrificed their personal liberties and lives to fight against injustice from the brutal regime. For generations, Ahwazi Arabs have continued to seek liberty from such cruel oppression. Their countless sacrifices cement the commitment of the native Arab people to fight – by any and all means necessary – to achieve freedom and independence for their Ahwaz.